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American Military Patches, Other Insignia and Decorations of World War Two by Dr. Howard G. Lanham c.2002

Common Medals of the Second World War

Meritorious Service Medals

Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit Legionaire

Congress created the Legion of Merit on July 20, 1942. It is among the more decorative United States medals and was awarded in four degrees: Chief Commander, Commander, Officer, and Legionnaire. The decoration is awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services. The decoration was intended principally for foreign nationals who assisted the United States in the war effort. It was also awarded to U.S. citizens supposidily without degree; however, the design awarded is that of legionaire. On the reserve of the is the motto "Annuit Coeptis," which means, "He has favored our undertaking." The Chief Commander degree is generally awarded to foreign Chiefs of States. First to receive to was Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China. The Commander degree is awarded to high-ranking military personnel of a foreign government; for example, a military chief of staff. The degree of Officer is awarded generally to military officers of a foreign power. The first American to receive the award was Lt. Ann Agnes Bernatitus, a Navy nurse, who served on Corregidor.

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